All the victims from the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting

A look into the lives of the 11 people that were killed at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Posted: Oct 31, 2018 6:50 AM
Updated: Oct 31, 2018 6:50 AM

A former Little League coach. A physician dedicated to the dignity of people with HIV. A doting grandfather. A career research specialist whose home was a haven for students. A sharp-witted bubbe. A man who used his experience in an interfaith marriage to help guide others. A couple in their 80s who had married in the synagogue more than six decades earlier.

These are just some of the souls who were gunned down in Saturday's mass murder at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. They are members of a broader Jewish community who know perseverance because they have so often been forced to persevere. Their deaths are tragic, but they were also preventable -- and if we finally take seriously the lessons of centuries of anti-Semitism, they don't have to be in vain.

One man who narrowly escaped death -- who was only outside the synagogue because he was running a few minutes late that morning -- was a Holocaust survivor who spent 10 months in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. "It never ends," he told USA Today. "That was my thought."

Another man, Barry Weber, was born to parents who came to America fleeing the Nazis. He hid in the synagogue's storeroom as members of his congregation were gunned down on the same soil that once gave his parents safe haven. Those shots were fired by a man who allegedly shouted, "all Jews must die," and who was apparently incensed by the refugee resettlement organization HIAS. HIAS was founded as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in 1881; its mission was to help Jews fleeing European pogroms. Later, the organization expanded to helping refugees more broadly, and continues that work today.

The shooter hated both Jews and immigrants, and saw organizations like HIAS as examples of crafty Jews undermining "real" America by opening the doors to foreigners. The breathless coverage of the migrant caravan, still more than 1,000 miles from the US border, seemed to only further inflame the shooter's hate.

It's impossible to separate out this horrific event from the forever history of anti-Semitic terror. Mistrust, bigotry, a series of hateful stereotypes -- that Jewish people are greedy and dishonest, that a global Jewish cabal is secretly in control of the banks and the media and seeks to infiltrate national governments, that Jews are not legitimate and faithful citizens of the countries in which they reside -- have stalked Jewish people across continents and over centuries.

These conspiracies and allegations of fundamental, unalterable difference from the majority population animated pre-Holocaust Europe and fueled right-wing political parties. Those searching for an enemy to blame for economic insecurity in Germany had an easy scapegoat: greedy Jews.

It's important to draw these parallels, not because we are headed for another Holocaust -- I don't think we are -- but because the narratives that have driven hate movements, of which the Holocaust was perhaps the apex but far from the only example, tend to repeat themselves. Stereotypes may evolve and bigotries may take different forms, but they rarely wholly reinvent themselves.

Donald Trump's rhetoric offers up clear examples: His tarring of George Soros as a shady billionaire pulling invisible strings to undermine America draws on old anti-Semitic tropes; in what is now a long-forgotten moment during his campaign, he tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton with a six-pointed star next to her face, the words "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" written inside. Many observers saw a Star of David, and the obvious suggestion that her alleged corruption was related to Jewish influence. Trump's team claimed, improbably, that it was a sheriff's badge.

When our President scapegoats migrants and deploys anti-Semitic tropes behind a thin veneer of deniability, and when our own right-wing political party gets on board for political gain, danger is on the horizon.

That danger came to the Tree of Life synagogue this weekend. Every person who perished there was part of a community that knows all too well how fragile security and citizenship truly are -- that these are concepts only as good as the country you live in, and the people who run it and those who keep them in office.

Memorials to the Holocaust implore us to "never forget." But when anti-Semitism has never been a thing of the past, memory is insufficient. We have to learn the lesson.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 352891

Reported Deaths: 7597
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24704451
DeSoto23619283
Harrison21395335
Jackson15984255
Rankin15957294
Madison11224227
Lee10952180
Jones9316171
Forrest9136163
Lauderdale8211244
Lamar736590
Lowndes7253152
Lafayette6658125
Washington5681140
Pearl River5396155
Oktibbeha506598
Bolivar5022134
Warren4828128
Panola4823112
Marshall4759106
Pontotoc455773
Neshoba4487181
Hancock444488
Union441479
Monroe4390138
Lincoln4247116
Pike3771114
Leflore3696125
Alcorn362474
Tate356188
Sunflower351794
Adams350690
Scott349177
Yazoo344877
Copiah333569
Simpson329191
Itawamba318581
Tippah316569
Coahoma316385
Covington305584
Prentiss304163
Leake291976
Marion291882
George285851
Wayne282345
Grenada272488
Newton269264
Tishomingo241670
Stone240038
Winston238484
Jasper236248
Attala229974
Chickasaw222760
Clay204654
Holmes204374
Clarke190480
Tallahatchie185842
Smith184936
Calhoun184632
Yalobusha174241
Walthall151249
Lawrence146426
Greene144735
Amite140144
Noxubee137635
Perry137038
Montgomery134644
Carroll127531
Webster125132
Jefferson Davis121334
Tunica116627
Benton108425
Claiborne106131
Kemper105029
Humphreys102533
Franklin88724
Quitman86819
Choctaw83619
Wilkinson79632
Jefferson72328
Sharkey52018
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 595816

Reported Deaths: 11561
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson865251591
Mobile50436872
Madison37905534
Shelby27652260
Tuscaloosa27422465
Montgomery26428628
Baldwin26175329
Lee17414181
Calhoun15549334
Morgan15265291
Etowah15106372
Marshall13248236
Houston12297294
Elmore11006220
St. Clair10903252
Limestone10867158
Cullman10643206
Lauderdale10374255
DeKalb9603193
Talladega9032188
Walker7873288
Autauga7635114
Blount7463140
Jackson7450117
Colbert6780142
Coffee6515132
Dale5803117
Covington4864125
Russell483543
Chilton4828117
Franklin465681
Tallapoosa4591156
Escambia457583
Chambers4007125
Dallas3756164
Clarke374663
Marion3490107
Pike336979
Lawrence3280100
Winston301973
Bibb293766
Geneva293083
Marengo263867
Barbour254361
Pickens247962
Butler243672
Hale236979
Fayette228565
Henry218845
Monroe206941
Randolph203844
Cherokee201748
Washington189439
Macon172252
Crenshaw171758
Clay167659
Cleburne161845
Lamar152638
Lowndes146555
Wilcox132731
Bullock126542
Conecuh123032
Coosa119729
Perry111228
Sumter110933
Greene99937
Choctaw64525
Out of AL00
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Feels Like: 86°
Columbus
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Oxford
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Friday will be just a little warmer in the morning due to some cloud cover in the area. We will see some isolated to widely scattered showers and thunderstorms pop up over portions of our area due to a little bit of low pressure flowing through the area.
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